Donating records to NT Archives Service

Community archives show the Territory community's social, economic, religious and political life through records created by people in their daily lives.

These records also reflect the activities of business, trade unions, churches, community associations, political parties and other organisations.

Archives are unique records selected on the basis of ongoing value for legal, administrative, financial, scientific or historical research purposes.

The Northern Territory Archives Service (NTAS) has government and community archives that are important to the Northern Territory (NT).

Benefits of donating archives

There are many benefits from donating archives to the NTAS, including all of the following:

  • permanent preservation in a nationally recognised cultural heritage collection
  • high level of protection against theft, damage, destruction or loss
  • collection management by professionally qualified staff
  • availability of archives to researchers in Darwin and Alice Springs
  • storage and preservation as a free service to the community
  • environmentally controlled storage facilities.

Archives you can donate

Community archives are made up of personal archives and archives of non-government organisations.

The NTAS does not collect published material, works of art, artefacts or objects.

Before being accepted in the collection, archives are appraised by archivists for their importance to the NT.

For more information read acquisition policy for community archives PDF (76.8 KB).

If you are thinking about donating archival material, contact the NTAS for advice.

Personal archives

Personal archives are created by individuals who have been active in the NT. These include war veterans, Cyclone Tracy survivors, local personalities, politicians, and members of the general public who have experienced life in the Territory.

Personal archives can include any of the following:

  • diaries and manuscripts
  • letters and personal papers
  • photographic prints and slides
  • scrapbooks and maps
  • oral history recordings and transcripts.

Organisation archives

Archives of organisations can include records of any of the following: 

  • community groups and organisations 
  • businesses and companies 
  • churches and missions 
  • political parties 
  • trade unions and professional associations
  • sporting clubs. 

Types of archives from these organisations can include any of the following:

  • reports
  • minutes of meetings
  • correspondence
  • policy files
  • journals
  • legal documents
  • plans and posters
  • photographic prints and slides.

Preparing archives for donation

When preparing archives for donation you must preserve the context of how and why the records were created.

Do not disturb the original order of documents. A lack of original order will reduce their historical and evidential value.

Information about the identity of people and the dates of records are of particular importance to the research use of archives.

Donation agreements

You will need to sign an agreement with the NTAS when donating archives.

The donation agreement sets out the terms of the donation and has clear directions with respect to copyright, access and use of the records.

The donation agreement makes sure both parties are aware of their rights and obligations. It protects their interests and helps with the administration of the archives.

A copy of the donation agreement, including a list of the archives donated, will be given to you when the archives are registered.


You can choose to bequeath your records as part of your estate to preserve records for the long term.

If you are considering a bequest, you can speak to the NTAS about any conditions of access and use of your records.

Access to community archives

Public access and copyright of community archives is worked out with the donor at the time of acquisition and recorded on the donation agreement.

Most community archives are available on open access. Some donors may restrict access to their archives for a period of time if the collection has sensitive information.

Location of archives

Archives are collected, preserved and made accessible at the archives centres in Darwin and Alice Springs.  

Read the archives information leaflet on donating community archives.

Contact the NT archive service for more information.

Last updated: 10 November 2015

Share this page:

Was this page useful?

Describe your experience

More feedback options

To provide comments or suggestions about the NT.GOV.AU website, complete our feedback form.

For all other feedback or enquiries, you must contact the relevant government agency.